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Great Unsung Women of Computing: The Computers, The Coders and The Future Makers
A 3-part series by Kathy Kleiman, Jon Palfreman and Kate McMahon
US, 2016, 48 minutes, Color, DVD
Order No. W161181
In the United States, women are vastly underrepresented in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) fields, holding under 25% of STEM jobs and a disproportionately low share of STEM undergraduate degrees. Great Unsung Women of Computing is a series of three remarkable documentary films that show how women revolutionized the computing and Internet technology we use today, inspiring female students to believe that programming careers lie within their grasp.

The Computers features the extraordinary story of the ENIAC Programmers, six young women who programmed the world’s first modern, programmable computer, ENIAC, as part of a secret WWII project. They programmed ENIAC without programming language (for none existed), and harnessed its power to perform advanced military calculations at lighting speeds. However, when the ENIAC was unveiled in 1946, the Programmers were never introduced and they became invisible. This stunning documentary features rare footage and never-before-seen interviews with the ENIAC Programmers. 70 years later, this is their story.

The Coders tells the story of two extraordinary women, Sarah Allen and Pavni Diwanji whose technologies revolutionized the Internet: Sarah co-invented Flash, the first multimedia platform supporting video, graphics, games and animation for the internet, while Pavni invented the Java servlet to allow web applications to respond quickly to requests from users everywhere.

In The Future Makers, Andrea Colaço, a young MIT PhD, shares her dream of a world in which we interact with our smart devices using natural hand gestures, not static keyboards or touchpads. She invented 3D “gestural recognition technology” and co-founded 3dim to develop and market it. In 2013, 3dim won MIT’s $100K Entrepreneurship Prize and launched Andrea towards her dream of innovation and changing the world.


United Nations Association Film Festival, Grand Jury Award, Best Short Documentary

  • Inspirefest Dublin 2015
  • Seattle International Film Festival
  • Paris International Lesbian & Feminist Film Festival

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    "This inspiring title highlights the accomplishments of pioneering women."
    Candace Smith

    “THE COMPUTERS is a unique and powerful documentary… This still under-appreciated story of how women helped initiate the computer revolution provides inspiring female role models for future generations."
    Tim Bartik, Senior Economist
    Upjohn Institute

    "By watching THE COMPUTERS, the history, personalities, and dynamism of six amazing programmers came to life for me. Kathryn Kleiman's groundbreaking film teaches all of us that we need ask to our mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers about their contributions to science and the world."
    B.K. Adams
    Assc. Director. Communications, University of Maryland

    “History's female programmers will no longer be forgotten…Kleiman is building a future that looks different from a history that's been airbrushed to look more male than it really was."

    "Watching THE COMPUTERS was an eye opening experience for all of us… these women paved the way for the next generation."
    Professor Samir Khuller
    University of Maryland

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WMM offers film collections on a variety of specific subject areas, including the collections VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: Ending the Silence, BODY IMAGE, and AFRICAN-AMERICAN: Celebrate the Lives of African-American Women.

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Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitiates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. contact us